The Observatory is a private teaching and research establishment, and is not normally open to visitors except as summarised below.
The Observatory holds free public open evenings, normally fortnightly on Fridays during UCL term times (October–March inclusive), 18:30–19:40 and 19:45–20:55. (A Saturday evening tour is usually also offered each term for visitors unable to attend on Fridays for religious reasons; these visits start at 19:30.) The earlier tour may be preferable for families with children, but note that the content and nature of the tours (including negotiating some steep, open-tread stairs) mean they may not suitable for all children younger than 7–8 years old.
Visitors are given a short introductory lecture followed by a full tour of the telescopes and facilities. During the tour season, only about 1 evening in 3 or 4 is clear, and in any event it may that neither the Moon nor the brighter planets are well placed for viewing. Nonetheless if weather permits, visitors will normally be given the opportunity to view the sky through the Fry 8-inch refractor.
N.B. – unfortunately, the site is not wheelchair-friendly, and has steep stairways; disabled visitors should contact us in advance to enquire about access. There is no on-site visitor parking (other than by advance arrangement for disabled visitors).
Advance booking is essential; tours are very popular, and places are allocated on a
first-come, first-served basis.
A calendar of tour availability is given below.
TOURS FOR THE 2012/13 SEASON ARE NOW FULLY BOOKED. Tour dates for the 2013/14 season will be posted here in autumn 2013.
For school visits please see our Outreach information.
We will consider requests for private group visits, subject to scheduling constraints. The itinerary will be similar to that for regular public tours (and is subject to the same caveats concerning weather conditions). Daytime visitors may be able to view the Sun using our specialised equipment. Charges are levied to cover staffing costs: 1-12 persons, £120; 13-24, £180; 25-36, £240. We regret that groups larger than 36 cannot normally be accommodated.
University of London Observatory - 553 Watford Way - Mill Hill - London - NW7 2QS
University College London - Gower Street - London - WC1E 6BT
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